Pentax K20D 14.6MP Digital SLR Camera with Shake Reduction and DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II Lens

  • 14.6-megapixel resolution captures enough detail for poster-sized prints
  • 2.7-inch LCD display; Kit includes 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL II Lens
  • Dust-proof, water-resistant construction; comprehensive Dust Removal system
  • New Live View function
  • Capture images to SD/SDHC cards (not included)

I’ve owned the K20D for six months now and it’s a great camera. I’d like to offer some advice, learned the hard way, to people thinking of buying one.

Firstly, buy it! At this price….

Secondly, I wouldn’t buy the kit lens. I did, and I hardly ever use it. It’s OK, well built and not expensive. But it won’t give you those WOW factor photos you’d expect from your investment in a top quality DSLR. If you want that WOW factor, I personally recommend you move fast to find a good deal on the Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 prime lens. If you can get one for under $260 (at time of writing), you’ll have a wonderful, low cost prime. But do it right now, before it goes the same way as the top rated 35mm f2, which is now hard to find and expensive. It’ll help you take wonderful photos, particularly portraits in-doors without flash. Its very, very sharp outdoors. I’ll guarantee friends and relations will say: great photos, what camera are you using? And camera experts will say: great photos, what lens are you using? You may have to jump around a bit to get a good composition with its focal point – but why not look like a serious photographer? It you can’t or don’t want to invest in a top quality lens, then I’d stick with a point and shoot or consider the next two options.

Thirdly, for maximum entertainment, I’d buy a value-for-money zoom lens like the Tamron 70-300mm macro. This lens isn’t the best of breed. You can go that route when you’ve mastered all the “photographer’s at fault” issues – or if you have money to burn. It’s a lot of fun outdoors and it’ll produce very fine photos (up to around 250mm). I’ve used it for numerous photos of my 6 and 7 year old girls playing with pets, friends, creepy crawlies, as well as other “Daddy objects” far away, like planes and the moon. Plus it has a macro feature that is a bit of a hassle to set but works well. In other words – it’s a lot of fun!

Fourthly, try an old Pentax/Takumar lens on the body. Go shopping on eBay you’ll find some of the greatest ever lenses/glass for sale at ridiculous prices (compared to new lenses). Buy a proper Pentax adaptor, change the aperture ring setting so that the shake reduction will work on a totally manual lens, and you’ll be able to take some fantastically evocative photos. I’ve got three 35 year old Takumars, and its amazing the range of photo styles I can produce – from razor sharp to creamy “1960s” looking colors. You’ll really get to know how to use the camera to its full potential. My Takumar 55mm is the my pick. The only real problem is that with manual focus its hard to catch fast moving children. But then its back to the FA 50mm.

Finally, the expert reviewers are right, you DO need to (and shouldn’t have to) + EV compensate most times to get a perfect exposure, but that’s just a little quirk…also…if you have Canon software from your point and shoot digital camera, use this for managing and sending out your photos, its easier than learning the Pentax software…

This review will be brief, so take it for what it’s worth. So much has been said about the K20D, that I would only be repeating what you probably already know: This camera is a winner! I’ll leave the technical reviews to more qualified people out there.

I got it mainly for its weather-resistance and because it has received such positive feedback here on Amazon and on other sites. Now that Pentax has finally released 2 weather-resisitant lenses,

PENTAX DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL Weather Resistant Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Camera

PENTAX DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED Weather Resistant Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras

I feel like I have the perfect setup for my needs.

This is my first DSLR, and when I started looking for a DSLR I only considered Canon and Nikon. But this Pentax does everything I want it to. And usually it does it very well.

No camera is perfect. But for the price, the K20D is certainly one that you might want to seriously consider. Canon and Nikon make good stuff, but don’t feel inferior with the K20D. It is one sweet piece of equipment!I continued my travels through the Pentax family since I learned to shoot with the old K1000 and all my lenses were bought for this camera, I just hated the idea of starting over from scratch. I upgraded to the MZS several years ago but finally made the leap to digital with the K20d this spring after missing graduation pictures of a niece due to rewinding film. I have absolutely loved the in camera shake reduction. My general use lense is a Sigma 28-300. I was shooting a pickup basketball game at our church this weekend at around 200 handheld in shutter speed priority and getting excellent shots. I’ve used all the modes at some point in the past six weeks or so and they all work wonderfully well though I can’t imagine when ISO priority will actually be my main consideration in a shoot. I have only had one complaint and that came shooting lightning shots at night. The camera takes about 80% as long to write the information to the card as the aperature was left open. I have done some research and have learned that card speed might be a factor so I have some 30m cards coming,… I’ll update if these improve this weakness. The data capture with each shot will be helpful in learning becuase this camera tracks everything but moon phase and wind speed involved with taking the shot. It can only greatly improve the leaning curve. I owned it less than a year, but the camera has been handled less than perfect. It has been dropped at least three times, but the true test was a complete soak. My daughter had around her neck, while trying to get closer to the ocean, at cliff walk’s 40-steps, Newport. She slipped and went completely down to the water. The camera went completely under water with her. I took battery as a precaution and noticed inside compartment was dry. I let it dried for few days just to be sure before tried to use it again. Well, it worked perfectly, like nothing ever happened to it. I had 18-250 lens at that time, and unfortunately, it did not survived. I wish I had one of those weather-sealed lens.

On the side note, it does capture good images and I agreed with other reviewers. I have owned Pentax cameras for 25 years. They are simple easy to use cameras with the controls in just the right place to give the operator complete freedom to take any shot. You won’t find yourself winding into a pretzel in order to make a simple adjustment.

The K20D is a fantastic camera that performs like one 3 or 4 times its price. I have shot images of all types and brightnesses and have found it to be excellent. The brightness curve is a little low and will need to be brought up a little but this is far better then being too high and blowing out detail.

The battery life is excellent allowing me to get 750-1000 shots before needing to make a change. I use little flash so I can enjoy the full colors of my setting without blown out spots and bad reflections.

I have great night vision and the auto focus will start to loose it a little before I do. I can quickly switch to manual focus and keep on shooting. I avoid pushing the ISO over 800 to minimize noise. You will find the detail is still excellent at high ISOs where other cameras will sacrifice detail to keep the noise to a minimum. I personally would rather have a full detail shot with a little noise of that important moment then a low noise low detail shot.

My lens choice is the DA 18-250mm. This is a fantastic lens that surprisingly does the whole range well. When I shot film I was constantly in need of lenses and would often carry 3-5 on me. This lens will almost do it all. I am still planning on getting a wide of 10-12mm and a longer zoom of 400m or more.

The in body shake reduction system allows me to shoot down to 1/2 second while holding the camera. I have been doing this for a long time and have trained myself to hold very still but with it off, the best I can do is 1/15th. I would still recommend a tripod but knowing I can still take the shot in almost any condition is very comforting.

The bottom line is that this camera is well worth the money. It is the best value for anything even remotely close in capability. Don’t let the fact that Cannon and Nikon hog all the press keep you from giving this a serious look.

Price: $779.95   Buy This Camera